‘Living on the Rock’, ‘the Rock in the Mediterranean’; Maltese people have been using such phrases to describe their minuscule home for a long time. However, no local can fully grasp the extent of Malta’s size unless he/she moves abroad and tries to explain its location to others!
Given its high population density, good standard of living, and its happening social life, Malta does not really feel that small. You only ever become aware of how tiny it actually is when you hop onto a plane and you fly over the island, and you actually see it in its entirety from your window.
Other factors hinting to this small size lie in the fact that it is generally omitted from World Maps or grossly enlarged since its actual size is not cartographically favourable! There is also the fact that Malta had to enlarged when being engraved on the back of Euro coins (check your pockets).
As mentioned in a previous post, when foreigners ask me about Malta, I use the following recited speech:
“A small country, in the Mediterranean. It is just under Sicily (or Italy for the geographically inept) and is the smallest Member State of the EU”.
Surprisingly, most people generally ask me if Malta is small than Luxembourg (it is way smaller than Luxembourg), and I do enjoy the look of disbelief on their faces when I use one of the following methods to illustrate how small Malta is
All hail technology: I cunningly use Google Maps to show them where the country is and its dimensions, so I zoom into the Mediterranean, zoom in, and zoom in, and a bit more and behold the tiny rock which is a country full of tiny lovable people
I use the ‘concept of relativity’ – I do not actually use Einstein’s complex physics equations, but I merely compare the size of Malta to more world renowned places. So without further ado, I am providing you a selection of world renowned islands/countries that are internationally considered to be miniscule, but their size also dwarfs that of Malta. The following image was created using GIS, so all dimensions are accurate in relation to the size of Malta.
When it comes to countries, size doesn’t really matter – it’s all about the weather, good food, and Mediterranean lifestyle (well at least in Malta’s case).